South Africa’s Vodacom and its Kenyan subsidiary Safaricom have concluded the acquisition of mobile money payment service M-PESA from British telecom giant Vodafone.

The transaction, which was first announced in 2019, has been completed through a newly-created joint venture.

The companies did not reveal the value of the transaction.

Following the completion of the deal, both Vodacom and Safaricom get complete control of the M-PESA brand, product development and support services.

M-PESA has 40 million users in the African continent and processes more than a billion transactions per month.

Currently, the mobile money payment service is operational in Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique and Egypt.

Safaricom outgoing CEO Michael Joseph said: “For Safaricom, we’re excited that the management, support and development of the M-Pesa platform has now been relocated to Kenya, where the journey to transform the world of mobile payments began 13 years ago.

“This new partnership with Vodacom will allow us to consolidate our platform development, synchronise more closely our product roadmaps, and improve our operational capabilities into a single, fully converged Centre of Excellence.”

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read said: “M-PESA is hugely successful and enables millions of unbanked people in Africa to transfer money, pay bills and trade.

“However, with the rapid increase in smartphone penetration, the evolution into financial services and the potential for geographical expansion, we believe the next step in M-PESA’s African growth will be more effectively overseen by Vodacom and Safaricom.”

The divestment of the M-PESA brand, support and product development services is expected to financially neutral for Vodafone Group.